Marrying Minda…and a Real Nebraska Wedding



Well, I’m both rambunctious and skeered this week. Marrying Minda is set for release. If you like mail-order bride stories (and even if you don’t J) I hope you’ll give it a whirl.  The story did well in contests and therefore got some good remarks from judges, but my favorite comment came from a judge who wrote, I’m familiar with Nebraska. I can tell your setting is somewhere near Platte Center. 




Yowza! Minda comes all the way to Nebraska and marries the wrong guy (a gorgeous cowboy) in a little town I named Paradise and loosely based on what I reckon Platte Center might have been like way back when. Established by German and Irish homesteaders, Platte Center today is a pretty village of 400 or so in the metropolitan Columbus area.


The question is: Why Platte Center? Ya’ll may have picked up on the fact that I’m a Californian born and bred. Well, the love affair started when I was seventeen. In the pages of a college catalog. There it was, a classic New England-style campus in a town of cobbled streets and stately courthouse, with Nebraska farmland rolling around the edges and Plum Creek burbling nearby. Oh, it was my destiny to be one of those coeds in a plaid mini skirt, penny loafers crunching fallen autumn leaves on my way to a football game. weller-hall

 “No,”  my dad without hesitation, not even looking at the catalog. “Too far. I’d worry too much.”

 Never say never. After a semester at the community college during which I wheedled and whined about how I was Mature Enough to go away to school, I finally wore him down. On a balmy Los Angeles morning in January, he put me on a plane to Nebraska (my first flight) and three hours later, I landed on what might well have been a different planet. ommh-winter-trees


No jetway to debark the plane. Sub zero blasts of frigid air. Wind chill. (What the heck is wind chill? Hmmmmmm. Sub zero blasts of frigid air.)  Sure, I wore a scarf and gloves and a new winter coat, but California-level wool didn’t stand a chance. Within two days, every square inch of my skin was chapped; I cost Mom and Daddy a fortune in collect calls that first week. There was no such thing as free minutes back then. Homesickness broke my heart. You were right, Daddy. Sob. 



But…then I saw snow fall for the first time. Slid on my backside the entire way down the ice-slicked porch steps of my dorm.  Survived a blizzard. (Although I was reminded once again how much wind chill sucks.)  Got a Valentine from a secret admirer. Visited my roommate’s farm and devoured some hearty down-home meals. And in spring, watched baby lambs carouse around a pasture all the while lilacs exploded all over town. I was hooked. I was a cornhusker. 


So where else to set a Western historical romance but Nebraska?


Indeed much of it has to do with godson Nathan, my kids’ close friend. Just as California born and bred as I am, he spent every summer since age two on his grandparents’ farm in P.C. And after getting his degree in agriculture a few years ago at a California university, he put down his own roots in the ancestral stomping grounds.   

nebraska-wedding-church1Soon he fell in love with a local P.C. girl. That meant a wedding. I was invited. I went. Back to Nebraska. And once again, I was hooked.  For five more days of my life, I got to be a cornhusker again. Oh goodness. I rode a tractor and admired cornfields. Saw an hours-old calf. Explored historic cemeteries.                                            

tanya-cornfirldAnd loved every minute of it.


Back home, Nate’s love story still lived in my head. When it came time to pick a setting for Minda and her cowboy, I knew I’d found the Mother Lode. Perhaps I should say bumper crop.  Tractor


Well, we all know Minda and her cowboy have a happy ending. How about that Platte Center bride and groom?



 Doing great! Nate farms for a large agribusiness, and they’ve set up house in the historic farmhouse built by his great-great-grandparents on the five acres left from a section of farmland. I suggested to Nate he use those five acres for an animal sanctuary and boutique crops such as blackberries and herbs. He just shook his head and said, This is Nebraska, Tanya. Not California.ommh-alternate-view-no-snow


Oh, his junction’s got some fillies, too. A real new baby filly, and two little girls all his own.






Nate and his family plan on coming to California for our daughter’s wedding in August. That’s…hmmm 1500 miles. Same distance I traveled to his. Now today’s big question. How far have YOU ever traveled for a wedding?


P.s. I’ll be drawing a name today from all who post for a copy of Marrying Minda. 



P.p.s. I for one could seriously ride off into a sunset like this one! 


Click here to order:










  Click here…free download




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83 thoughts on “Marrying Minda…and a Real Nebraska Wedding”

    • Hi Jennie! Thanks fo stopping by this morning. I’m glad you liked the photos. Some Nate’s mom sent me, and the others, well, I have recently joined the 21st century and learned to scan!

  1. I can so relate to those Midwestern winters. I went to college in Wisconsin. BRRR! I get chilled just thinking about it.

    Lets see, the farthest we’ve gone for a wedding… 1600+ miles, southern Florida to Wisconsin’s far NW corner Eau Claire for my brother’s second wedding. It was a fun trip. We had a great time. Plus, it was in the fall and the weather was gorgeous! Lots of beautiful fall color!

  2. Your question of what in the world a wind chill was brought me back. I, too, was a California girl, born and bred. Then I moved to Texas to go to school. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the speed at which temperatures can change out here. (I married a Texan and have now lived in Texas for more years than I lived in California.)

    I’ll never forget the time in college when my husband-to-be and I went to a movie wearing shorts and came out to find snowflakes fluttering through the air. I found out real quick about wind chill and blue northers!

  3. Hi Laurie, I’m shivering just now LOL. Well, here in California we get “June Gloom” on the coast which means no sun, fog and chilly temps. That’s how the morning is loking right now.

    And we don’t get fall either. That is one thing I also remember about my Nebraska days. The autumn leaves.

    Thanks for visiting the junction today!

  4. Hi Karen,
    Nebraska weather was like that! I remember one hot April day, we went to the lake. That night it snowed. I thought my roommate was joking when she looked out the window and told me.

    Ah, the good old days. Texas seems like such a cool place to live. Thanks for stopping by today.

  5. Congrats on the new story! Very exciting and it sounds fun. 🙂

    I havn’t went to too many weddings but I have traveled about 200 miles to go to a cousin’s…Not too terribly far but it seemed like a long way for me!

  6. As an old farm gal, I can relate to your Nebraska experiences, if not that wind chill! Looking forward to your mail-order bride story, Tanya!Farthest I went for a wedding was a 14 hour drive to Michigan–not sure how many miles that was. My friend Teresa had gone to college in Colorado, met a Michigan boy and that’s been her home ever since. Now there’s some cold winters!

  7. Hi Lyoness…thanks for stopping by this morning. Our daughter’s wedding is taking place about 120 miles from here later this summer…that seems like a long way!

    Anne, I have Michigan friends in the Thumb. Yessirree, it gets cold on those great lakes. Thank you for your good wishes today! 🙂

  8. My dad grew up in Nebraska and he has told a lot of interesting stories about winters feeding cattle there.I just did an 1100 round trip to a cousin’s daughter’s wedding last weekend. A lot of driving for four hours! LOL

    Congratulations on your release!

  9. HI Paty, yeah, when I learned that cows on the range just stay out there all winter, I, well, I just pictured them all cozy in a barn somewhere.

    Four hours is a lot of driving. At least it wasn’t California driving: four hours to go a hundred miles because of stop-and-go traffic.

    Thanks for posting today and for your congrats! 🙂

  10. I’ve never had to drive far to any of the weddings I have been in or attended. Probably at most 40 miles. The pictures are beautiful especially the sunset. Count me in for the book. Have a great day.

    • Hi Roberta! That sunset is gorgeous, isn’t it? I guess it’s the endless plains and wide open clear sky. No smog or city lights LOL. Thanks for your good wishes.

  11. Hi Tanya, Thanks for the trip to Nebraska! The pictures make me want to get in the car and head west.

    The farthest I’ve traveled for a wedding is the distance between L.A. and Phoenix, but there’s more to the story. I was six years old and slated to be the flower girl in my uncle’s wedding, a big affair with seven maids of honor and seven ushers. The ushers were all brothers of the bride.

    The night of the wedding, I didn’t feel so good. I had a fever, red blotches, sore throat… turned out to be the measles. I made it through the ceremony, but the entire wedding party got sick! Everything worked out in the end, but I bet they all wished I’d stayed home!

    • hi Vicki, thanks for the adorable story. It reminds me of when our son was six and a ring-bearer. He was soooo sick with a flu that segued into chicken pox later, but he did all his duties like a real trooper. However he didn’t last the reception. A family friend took him home and put him to bed. But oh, did he look cute. You’d never know from the pictures how sick he was. Now his little boy will be ring-bearer for our daughter…he’s 2 and half so, hmmmmmm. But our daughter couldn’t bear leaving out her precious little nephew.

      Wow, that’s a big family. It reminds me of my great-grandparents. Their first child. a girl named Octavia, was followed by seven brothers! They always said their daughter was aptly named.


  12. Tanya, I’m a Nebraska girl, so I loved this. I will now share with you the only Nebraska/California joke I know.

    The Californian said to the Nebraskan, “I can be in warm, sunny 80 degree weather and with an hour drive up into the mountains I can be in the snow.”
    Nebraskan replies, “I can do that in Nebraska and not move an inch.”

    • Hi Mary, your joke cracked me up…but it’s not a joke 🙂 I totally remember how, if you didn’t like the weather in Nebraska, you just had to wait five minutes. I recall picnicking at Lake Pawnee on a perfect spring day…and getting caught in a thunderstorm about…well, five minutes later. Thanks for the memories! oxoxoxox

    • hi Cathy, thanks for your support. I love mail-order-bride stories too. In my world, they always end happy. But when I think about it logically, it could be a pretty scary arrangement.

  13. Thanks so much for such nice pictures and lovely comments about my home state! As much as I complain about the radical weather and the lack of excitement, it’s still a wonderful place for families with people that are always willing to help strangers.

    • Hi Jody, thanks for posting today. I totally love Nebraska and one of these summers intend to get back to P.C. and visit Nate and his family. We flew our kids out for the wedding…they’d never been to Nebraska, and they sure wished they’d had more time than just the wedding weekend. There’s so much history there, plus it’s just darn beautiful. oxox

  14. The furtherest I have ever gone for a wedding is 1600 miles. Wayne, NE to Davis, CA for our daughter’s wedding.
    A native Cornhusker, I have never lived outside of Nebraska so know all about wind chill and sudden temperature changes. I have lived not to far from PC for the past 18 years, but have never been there. Might have to drive through the little village some day. Your pictures are truly typical Nebraska.

    • Hi Sue, fellow Nebraskan considering I consider myself an honorary Cornhusker. I know where Wayne is 🙂 College there right? Wow, you’ve had a lot more traveling to do for your daughter’s wedding than I’m doing…her August wedding is about 2 1/2 hours from here. Fortunately it’s a great area with lots to do and we have friends and relatives there and make weekends of it. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  15. Tanya,

    Big congrats on the release of Marrying Minda! Woo-Hoo! Loved the first chapter. It whetted my appetite. I can’t wait to read the whole thing. Hope you publish many more.

    • Howdy, Linda, thanks once again for the kind words about my story. And for wishing me luck. Whew. I do have a great editor so who knows? Thanks also for stopping by today.

  16. Whow – you must have been shocked to move from California to Nebraska. My landlord is from California and now in Missouri – no blizzards. I am from Illinois but now live in Missouri.
    I have not traveled far for a wedding but the group who sang at our church Sunday went from Missouri to Florida for their son’s wedding. I used to babysit for them.
    I did, however, marry my husband 30 years ago and a month later move from Illinois to Arizona – a three day journey – that was our honeymoon. We have four and a half years to build our marriage without outside interference. Maybe that is why we will celebrate 30 years end of this month.
    Love what I read.
    God Bless.

    • Hi Jane, yes, it was quite a shock. I’d probably have been a little less homesick if I’d gone in the fall and eased into winter 🙂 But it sure makes for great memories. I still can remember clearly that first blast of wind on my face getting out of that plane. Whew.

      Congratulations on your thirtieth anniversary! I hope you celebrate in a very special way. There’s something awesome about spending a lifetime with the one you want at your side. We’re hitting 35 years this summer, and he still takes my breath away. Awwwwwwwww.

  17. Congradulations!! I loved reading about the book, and Nebraska. Nebraska is one of the states I haven’t visited yet, but it sure sounds cool. The farthest I have traveled for a wedding is 680 miles. I really like mail order bride stories.

  18. Hi Tanya – great seeing your post about Marrying Minda and Nate’s wedding! Wishing you luck and good fortune with the release. I’m getting my copy today!!

    Hmmm, I can’t say I’ve traveled further than Las Vegas for a wedding. It was for my friend’s daughter, whom I’ve known since birth and I wouldn’t miss it! We all had a fun party weekend!

    Great blog today!

    • Hi Charlene, thanks for the kind words. You helped a lot getting the story straight. Las Vegas would be a great place for a wedding. I always see brides in full regalia running around the casinos. We also saw a lot of brides and grooms in Oahu one year, all over the beaches taking pix. Thanks for posting today. oxoxoxox

  19. Hey Tanya, congrats on the release of Marrying Minda. I love mail-order-bride stories.

    We have wind chill and snow up her in Saskatchewan so yeah, I know what you’re talking about. Good post. LOL

    The farthest I’ve travelled to a wedding was from North Bay, Ontario to Swan River, Manitoba which is a distance of 1404 miles or 2260 kilometers. (Yup, the 2 provinces are next to each other.)

    • hi Anita Mae, thanks for the geography hints. Yes, I’ve heard Canada gets cold. Brrrrrrrr. One of my favorite rather obscure shows some years back was called Bordertown, a western set on the, duh, border. with a US marshall and a Mountie ruling two sides of the street. I loved that show! Thanks for posting today.

  20. Hi Anita, I hope you enjoy Marrying Minda as much as I enjoyed writing it. I was able to visit quite a few other states during those college years… Connecticut, Arkansas, Colorado and Michigan are some of my fondest visits.

  21. Congratulations, Tanya!

    The farthest we have gone for a wedding? Honey
    guesstimates some sixty miles: Houston to Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula for a niece’s wedding. It was a sunset wedding overlooking Galveston Bay and my sisters and I sang at the wedding.

    I have to say that I’m not enjoying the mention of
    snow and cold winters! My granddaughter Ashley, who is graduating tonight in The Woodlands, has spent every moment of her life in the Houston-
    area heat. She will be attending college in
    Richmond, Indiana. The December average temps:
    39 high & 26 low!!

    Pat Cochran

    • Hi Pat, congratulations on your granddaughter’s graduation. What a milestone. And I recall Indiana winters also. Brrrrrr. My closest childhood friend went to college in Valparaiso and I visited her several times. Always in midwinter, it seemed 🙂 I hope Ashley enjoys college as much as I did. Wish her well and have a great time at the graduation.

  22. Delightful post, Tanya. I grew up in Illinois and thought I knew what winter was–I didn’t. My first January in the flat lands of Bloomington, Illinois helped me redefine cold!

    Karen, I remember my first blue norther when I moved to Texas. At least I had a friend who warned me.

    The farthest I’ve traveled for a wedding was almost 1600 miles, Dallas to NYC, where a friend’s son married his college sweetheart. We had a blast.

    Congratulations on the release of Marrying Minda!

    • Hi Tracy, I know what you mean about defining cold. I have a college friend who lived in St. Paul for years and would call me when the weather got too tough. I’d be “freezing” here (believe me, the forties is COLD in SoCal!) and she was having…well, forty below.

      Wow. A wedding in NYC. We went for the first time last summer and had a fantastic time. What a place for a celebration! Thanks for stopping by today. oxoxox

  23. Loved this! It’s so cool to see the things I grew up with, the view of the church and sunset from our west window, Nate’s house and winter scenes, their wedding, and our precious granddaughters. The farthest I’ve gone for a wedding is to Nate and Kayla’s, about 1600 miles. We were so happy you and so many CA people made that long trip. I’m looking forward to Minda!

  24. Hi Nancy! Welcome to the junction. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy teaching day to post! You’re always my number one fan. I just totally loved going back to Nebraska for the wedding. And all the hospitality and family history your family shared with me! We’ll definitely get back there for our road trip, I promise! oxoxoxoxox Thanks also for taking so much time getting the pix to me that I needed.

  25. Hi Helen, thanks so much for posting today! I really enjoyed writing the book –I have an amazing editor as well–and writing this blog brought back some wonderful memories, both past and recent. Thanks also for your congrats! oxoxox

  26. Colleen, welcome to the junction. Thanks so much for stopping by and for wishing me well. I also love the pix…the really good ones were taken by my dear friend Nancy, Nate’s mom 🙂

  27. Sure Texas gets cold–or parts of it do. It just doesn’t last long. Winter is usually January and February. By March we’re uncovering the pool again. 😀

    • Cool, Tracy. Our hottest months in Southern California are actually in the fall. Summer is pretty crummy along the coast. Sweatshirts and patio fire pits for the cul-de-sac fourth of July bash. Right now my roses are fighting powdery mildew due to the fog and June gloom. Oh well, I can fix it 🙂 The mildew, I mean.

  28. Well, from here to Helsinki it’s about 500 kilometers and that’s the longest distance so far I’ve had to travel for a wedding.

    • Hi Minna! How far are you from Turku? Our Finnish “daughter” (exchange student) lives there. Goodness, it’s been four years since she was with us. She brought us a book of Finland’s highlights, and I know those Nebraska snowy pictures aren’t much competition. Thanks for stopping by today.

  29. My husband and I spent our first anniversary in Grand Island Nebraska. We both thought the area was beautiful. But, I have to look really hard to find a place in the U.S. that isn’t. I think Arizona has its own beauty, I thought South Dakota was incredible, and I’m from Missouri..which I do think is, of course, very beautiful.
    Last summer we traveled from Phoenix to Colorado Springs (another very beautiful place) for my sis-in-laws wedding. We made the drive…it took 2 days…with our 2 year old in the backseat. It was mostly torture, but I’m glad we went… hahaha

    • A road trip with a two year old? You are strong and brave, Stephanie LOL. I remember Grand Island clearly…but my only foray into South Dakota was a football game in Yankton. But visiting the badlands and Rushmore is on our list of places to go. I had a college flatmate from Colorado Springs whose home I visited several weekends, and I did my student-teaching in Denver…learned to ski the Rockies…yes, it is a gorgeous state. Missouri…I’ve got ancestors from Cape Girardeau so it’s definitely a place I want to explore.

      I totally love Arizona. Sedona really calls out to me. Thanks for stopping by today!

  30. Loved the blog and looking forward to reading your book. I have lived all my life in Nebraska and while I think it is the best, I will have to agree that I find something beautiful and special about every stat I have visited.
    The farthest I have traveled for a wedding was to Hawaii. This summer I will be going to NY State for one. Perhaps next I could find someone to marry in Alaska and Florida and then I would have a couple more states visited.( I think I have just the very NE and SE left!)

    • Hi Connie, thanks for visiting the Junction today. I think I’m up to 30 states, but many were just pass-throughs, e.g. Texas panhandle which means I need to get back to explore. I haven’t been south much except for Florida and I guess Arkansas is south? We finally made it to New England and went ga-ga over the turning leaves. Wow.

      I remember how pleasantly surprised our kids where, visiting Nebraska for the wedding, at how lovely it is. If anybody hasn’t been there, rent O Pioneers on dvd. It’s a wonderful story and the scenery is great.

  31. Ah, windchill – I know it well having lived in MN for 68 years! I’ve traveled from here to PA, TX and CA for weddings.

    • Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by. Yes, wind chill. I hadn’t thought of it in years until I wrote this blog. Dang, it goes right through the bones. I’d like to see the liberty bell and Gettysburg in PA.

  32. I didn’t answer the “How far to a wedding” question mainly because it’s so lame. But it’s mid afternoon now and I’m on a sugar low and lame suddenly seems right.

    I believe I drove about six hours once to North Platte, Nebraska. Down scenic interstate 80.

    But it was for my brother and he’s been married about thirty years now, so I guess it was worth the drive. 🙂

  33. And now I will tell you my most dramatic Nebraska weather story.

    One January day it reached about 50 degrees at noon and then the temperature began to fall…and fell and fell and fell. It was 30 below by sunset.

    That is an EIGHTY degree temperature shift in one day, surely some kind of world record.

    • Yikes, Mary, I totally believe it. My dramatic story isn’t as dramatic…but all I did was go to class on a regular winter afternoon. For the uninitiated, wind chill doesn’t happen all the time. Some days are actually lovely with sunshine and you can actually live in snow. Although I do recall Nebraska being giantly windy most of the time.

      Nontheless, by the time class dismissed, a blizzard was howling. I, California-stupid, figured I could hightail it back to the dorm…which I did, but now I know what white-out and snow-blind mean. I couldn’t see a thing or for that matter, feel a thing I was so numb. Ah, memories.

  34. I live in Minnesota so I know what wind chill is. I grew up in Washington so moving to Minnesota was quite an adjustment weather wise. The farthest I have traveled for a wedding was from Minneapolis to SanFrancisco for my sister’s wedding.
    I loved reading about your adventures in Nebraska.

  35. I mapquested it. That was about 300 miles for a wedding.

    I had another brother get married near Erie Pennsylvania but I didn’t go. Something about having three preschoolers at the time.

    I was the only one in my very large family who didn’t go and I still regret missing it. And, if I had it to do over again, I’d STILL miss it. Those kids were a HANDFUL!

    • Hi Mary, I hear ya. Our daughter is not permitting the next generation at the wedding other than her nephew ring-bearer and the little flower girl. But most folks would rather leave the younglings at home if possible…but with everybody out of state at a wedding, that isn’t always possible LOL. Thanks for making me laugh as always 🙂

  36. Umm, I don’t know excatly, but I think you need to add about 100 kilometers to that 500 kilometers. I live in eastern part of Finland.

  37. Tanya. . . I lovely post. I felt as if I was there, and definitely I wanted to be there. I’ve never been in a blizzard, and my southern blood would definitely rebel, but still . . . I can dream a little.

  38. Thanks for your kind words, Patricia. I did shiver a little myself at this pictures. It was actually a very good experience for me to be in such a different climate and culture. Our kids stayed in southern California for college (about an hour from home) but we at least made them live in the dorms. Nonetheless, it was a little bit different for them as LA is such a big city, and our area is not, actually fairly rural.

  39. I have visited in Turku as well. It used to be the capital of Finland during the time when the Swedes ruled here.

  40. Tanya, Love the cover of your new book.

    I have never had to travel for a wedding, my family all live within 30minutes of each other.

    Mail order Bride Books are my favorite stories. I will buy a book by an author I have never heard of to read a mail order bride story.

    Kayla’s dress is beautiful.

  41. Hi Tanya,
    I haven’t read a mail order bride story in a while but I do like them. What a big risk those women took. So far I have never traveled over three hours to go to a wedding. Congratulations on the new book!

  42. hi Minna, I do recall that bit of Finnish history from when Netta lived with us. I hope to get to visit her someday. Our other “daughter” that summer is from Denmark. It was a fabulous experieence having them in our home, life, and hearts.

  43. Hi Maureen, thanks for the congrats. Always a tad scary wondering if it’ll go well. But a good scared LOL. Thanks for posting today.

    Hello Sherry, yes, I was so excited to get that cover. We were on vacation and I ended up on cloud nine. I like the effect of not seeing faces…you can imagine what they look like on your own.

    Kayla’s dress was indeed just gorgeous. The black was all beadwork, very elegant. The bridesmaids wore black and had red roses. Everything was just perfect.

    Thanks for joining me here at Wildflower Junction today.

  44. Congrats on your new release Tanya! I hope I am not to late posting. I have been working in my kitchen all week, we had a water leak and now we are replacing the floor and its one huge mess. Marring Minda sound like a great read and I would love to read it. I can understand your father not wanting to let you go away from home for school. My son is in college right now. The college he goes to is about an hour away so he stays on campus. Although I think he does better if he stays at home. We never want to let our children go. Do you enjoy the research part of your books? Thanks for sharing your books with us.

  45. Hi Quilt lady…no, it’s never too late LOL. A water leak, oh no. We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago and it is such an ordeal.

    Thanks for your kind words about my book. I totally love the research part. For this one, my friend Nancy (the bridegroom’s mom) shared a lot of family history and lore with me that was very helpful. She is originally from Platte Center.

    Thanks for posting!

  46. Congrats on the new book. I’m looking forward to curling up with a copy soon. Loved the pictures and the memories of college days. It was a good time!

  47. Hi Cher! I know you’re a Nebraskan. How did I do as a pseudo-husker LOL? I’ll be drawing a name in a sec…came online for the final headcount. Thanks for your good wishes today.

  48. Hi Donna, my college chum. Those were the days, weren’t they? I remember a lot of wonderful weekends at your house, too. I hope you enjoy my book. Thanks for stopping by today.

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